Forty-three Chinese warplanes were detected around Taiwan between 6am on Tuesday and 6am yesterday, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
In addition to the warplanes, of which more than three dozen flew along the southern perimeter of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, seven Chinese warships were spotted in areas close to Taiwan over the 24-hour period, the ministry said in a statement.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) planes and ships were believed to be conducting patrols in the area as part of a joint sea-air drill conducted involving the Shandong aircraft carrier in waters outside of Taiwan’s southeastern contiguous zone, it said.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense
The contiguous zone is a zone extending 24 nautical miles (44.4km) from the shore of Taiwan proper.
The ministry said that it scrambled planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, and issued radio warnings, mobilized combat air and naval patrols and deployed defense missile systems to track them.
The ministry reports near-daily warplane activity by the Chinese military, which in the past year has carried out massive war games around Taiwan.
In September, China sent 103 planes around Taiwan within a 24-hour period, which Taipei described as “a recent high.”
The ministry said at the time that Beijing’s “continued military harassment can easily lead to a sharp escalation in tension and worsen regional security.”
In April, Beijing conducted military exercises to simulate the encirclement of Taiwan proper after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) met then-US House of Representatives speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
At an international defense forum in Beijing on Monday, Chinese General Zhang Youxia (張又俠), China’s No. 2 military official, reiterated threats by the Chinese government that it would retaliate against any move toward establishing Taiwan’s formal independence.
“No matter who tries to split Taiwan from China in any form, China and the Chinese military will never allow that to happen,” he said.
Zhang, who is also vice chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission, which oversees the world’s largest standing military, opened the three-day event in the absence of former Chinese minister of defense Li Shangfu (李尚福), who would have normally hosted the event.
Li was removed from his position last week after a two-month absence from public view.
Beijing has not provided any reason for his removal.
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